Author: Loyd Jenkins
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Yesterday I had a conversation with Pastor Frank Griffith, pastor of Victory Life Church in Foley, Alabama. He runs a food ministry, and had served thousands in the Louisiana disaster. He and I spoke about some aspects of the Louisiana flood update. As we spoke, I asked him about one of the stories of loss he told previously, which greatly moved me:
One of the pastor’s in the Denham Springs area, who is a friend of Pastor Griffith, told him of a woman in his congregation about her son. Now her son was in his mid-30’s and lived with her because he was autistic. He had his rituals that revolved around very specific times of the day. One was taking out the trash after Sunday service. He was so fastidious about it, that if the pastor went long in his sermon her son would get visibly stressed. His stress became the pastor’s blinking-red light that his time was up. So the pastor took care to mind the time so as not to upset the man. Another routine was walking his mother’s dog every evening.
The rain had fallen so profusely in Louisiana that the rain had caused the nearby rivers to rush over the banks and flood the area. The mother saw that there was some mild flooding when she opened the back door at one point in the evening, but nothing to be worried about just yet. When the time came, her son walked the dog…. as he did every night at the same time. And out he went with the dog.
After a little while the mother became aware that her son didn’t come home when he should have and opened the back door again. What she saw horrified her. The water had risen quickly and was up to her deck, a couple of feet from the ground. Can you imagine how she felt looking out in the vast rushing water with no sign of her son returning. Time can be vicious. It was a millstone around her aching heart with every passing minute.
They found her son’s body two days later and presumed that the dog had gotten carried away in the water and the man followed to save their pet.
I told Pastor Griffith that me and my family are praying for that woman—to be comforted in her grief. And then it occurred to me about how God beautifully connects us all to each other. Yes, we are connected to each other in Christ Jesus—for those of us who believe—but we are also connected to one another who do not believe because we are all made in His image, the image of God.
Yet we constantly build silos for ourselves in our lives, with our busyness, our families, our work, technology, and even maybe in our church services. It causes me to wonder if God puts things in our lives that are devastating so that we will connect with each other, provide for others whom we may never see, pray for each other and love people we may have never otherwise thought to love—like the woman who lost her son.
It is a wonderful opportunity to work for an organization that serves people in need, that sends aid to areas of disaster—as we did in Louisiana—and to be able to share stories so that we might have more opportunities to connect.